Procrastination isn’t a fault with which I’ve familiarized myself. As an undergrad, I didn’t pull an all-nighter until well into my senior year, and even then it was under the summons of a few very unproductive group members. I’d always easily motivated myself with the promise of a good night’s sleep and some temporary relief from the burden of my schoolwork. Unfortunately, that just ain’t cutting it for me anymore.
It’s strange how my work habits seem to be evolving in a detached and completely illogical manner; I have no problem working on papers that aren’t due until mid-December or homework due after Thanksgiving, but when I crack open my textbook to study for my math exam tomorrow, my brain completely jumps ship. Perhaps it is a coping message, some fight-or-flight response to the immediate danger posed by line and surface integrals (really can you blame it?).
It feels like I’ve been rushing through this semester, and fallen slightly out of sync. I’m living a good several days ahead in time, and my concerns have adjusted suitably. I will not be tripped up by something as silly as the linear nature of time; so really I don’t have an exam in less than 12 hours. I already took the exam, or maybe I’m supposed to take it next week. I just need to convince my professor…
Also, according to my distorted brain and most large chain stores, Christmas is very nearly upon us. The holiday season has brought with it some temptations that I simply could not resist—I’ve already rekindled my steamy seasonal affair with Starbucks’s peppermint mocha—but I’ve also had fun discovering some primal alternatives to traditional confections. And as a bonus, baking makes an excellent alternative to all sorts of schoolwork.
Pumpkin Gingerbread Cranberry Spice Cake
Adapted from this recipe
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup honey
1 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
Mix everything together, and bake in a greased 9-in round cake pan for 45ish minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
Chocolate Molasses Spice Cookies
Adapted from this recipe
3/4 cup almond flour
1/8 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp applesauce
2 tbsp molasses
2 squares chopped dark chocolate
Mix everything together. Drop onto a parchment paper lined tray, flatten slightly, and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, until bottom is just starting to brown. Turn off oven and allow them to cool in the oven.
That last step is a result of me not having any counter space in my tiny kitchen, but the texture of these cookies came out amazing: crunchy along the edges and chewy in the middle, just like a “real” cookie. I made a previous batch using oil and no chocolate as per the original recipe, which I pulled out of the oven immediately, and the texture of those was completely different.
I’m not sure precisely which part of this process caused the textural victory, but I will be figuring that out. As an engineer, my work must be repeatable, and if that means making multiple control and experimental batches of these cookies, well so be it.